Day of the Dead: Bloodline
A small group of military personnel and survivalists dwell in an underground bunker as they seek to find a cure in a world overrun by zombies.
Hector Hernandez Vicens
I’ve been writing in some form or fashion since I was 10 years old. Somewhere in my mid-teens (during the “underwater” movie craze of the late ‘80s – The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six, etc.), I took it upon myself to enter into that flash of a sub-genre with a short story of my own, entitled, “Below the Surface”.
What’s funny is that my 15-year old brain wasn’t particularly scientific, so when one of the characters in my short story – one of the marine biologists – was established in the story early on, I chose to have her identify a specimen under the microscope (a good way to really set up her expertise).
I didn’t know shit from shinola about marine biology, so I had her say something along the lines of, “These are the white blood cells of a Portugese Man-of-War” as she squinted into the microscope.
Do such jellyfish species actually have white blood cells? Who the hell knows?
I bring up this long anecdote – because I’ve just experienced the new release; Day of the Dead: Bloodline.
In the filmmakers’ attempts to be scientifically legit in their film, they brought to mind my piddly, teenaged go at real legitimacy to my story-telling. And since their scientific “knowledge” is brought up early on – it was a true harbinger of the pitiful lack of quality still to come.
Trying to be smart didn’t work for me, and it sure as hell didn’t work for the writers and filmmakers behind this absolutely dreadful, pointless and insulting remake of George A. Romero’s 1985 masterwork.
Honestly, if I weren’t so flabbergasted by the ineptitude of filmmaking I’ve just witnessed, I might be fuming mad.
Here’s the lowdown: A zombie outbreak occurs and a group of scientists, military personnel and civilians are holed up in an underground facility. The lead scientist – who we’ll learn in the pre-credits prologue – is a young, green medical student named Zoe Parker (Sophie Skelton). She’s searching for a way to stop the zombie virus. A stalker and former patient from her past named Max (Jonathan Schaech) – who once upon a time tried to rape her – shows up as a half zombie/half human (who is super smart, super acrobatic and can actually sniff out Zoe), and may hold the answers to a potential antidote. Thing is, he still wants to “get” with her.
Let me get this out of the way right now.
If you insist upon producing a rotten pile of garbage, with terrible actors, some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard and a full-on laundry list of other complaints – why on earth do you need to drag in Romero’s good name?
Go off to your corner of the world, make your terrible film and leave the original Day of the Dead out of it. This is a clear cash-in on a recognizable title/franchise. And again – it’s so insulting.
And if you thought the 2008 remake (why do people keep returning to this property – leave it alone!) was bad – this film goes way beyond that mess (c’mon, Matrix zombies?). At least that film had some competent actors in Ving Rhames and Mena Suvari.
I lost count at the number of times I raised my hands in disgust – either at ridiculous character choices (Zoe going off alone to get family photos), moronically convenient plot points (the military vehicles breaking down) and insane plot holes (the little girl is totally contagious with pneumonia and yet Zoe treats her while wearing no mask or gloves, leaves the girl’s “quarantined” cell door open and allows the girl to have visitors). Huh?
And what was with the weird sequence of the zombies getting in through the gate? That whole scene was just plain stupid.
I just can’t with this level of bad writing. Insulting.
The performances are all just dreadful. Wooden, uninspired acting choices (and clearly non-existent direction from the person at the helm).
Lighting seemed to be about 90% from directly above. This technique creates no mood, no shadows and no levels. I was thinking back to Romero’s classic (hey, if you’re gonna tack on this title, then be ready for the comparisons – hint: your remake is gonna lose big time) – and all of the shadow, fun lighting and depth (notably in the tunnels of the film’s climax) – all so moody and rich and brimming with unseen danger. Everything in this ill-advised remake was flat, boring and amateurish.
There’s no character development of any kind. I didn’t care one iota for anyone in this film – but really, how can one expect to find sympathy for 2-dimensional morons?
As is the norm – I always try to find something positive – even in a sea of awful. And while this does prove difficult with this particular film… and the film will receive the lowest possible score (½ star), I do have to call out the ample and well-done gore effects and zombie make-up. There’s a lot of gut-munching, neck bites and gunshots to the head – and frankly, I found it all to be quite effective.
As I’m penning this review, I’m realizing that I’m actually offended by this film. Not only because the original film is my #1 favorite movie of all time, of any genre (check out my article celebrating the original’s 30th anniversary), but because this film is just so terribly made. Even if it had no “connection” to Romero’s film, I would still do as any good zombie would – I’d tear it to shreds.
With nothing but some cool make-up effects to be chalked up in the “positive” column (oh, and actor Marcus Vanco had a hot bod. That’s a positive too), Day of the Dead: Bloodline is in no way, shape or form – worthy of your time or your dime.
Tell you what… if you’re looking for some other way to pass the time – I’ve got my short story from high school – “Below the Surface” – to entertain you. And I can guarantee that this underwater advenature will be better written and far more captivating than this pointless, awful mess.
Day of the Dead: Bloodline is now available on VOD.